While You Were Out: Sept. 4

Good evening, CivMixers. I hope you’re all safe and well as another Wednesday draws to a close.

The weather continues to make headlines.

The National Weather Service issued both a severe thunderstorm watch (until 9 p.m.) and a flood advisory (until 2 p.m.) in the Capital Region. The storm watch applies to Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington counties.

Dorian, now a Category 2 storm with 105 m.p.h. winds, is about 115 miles east-northeast of Jacksonville, Fla.

The devastation wrought in the Bahamas by Dorian is significant, and it could take years for the islands to fully recover.

New York is sending 34 of its water rescue personnel to North Carolina in anticipation of Dorian hitting the state Friday. The group consists of 21 fire protection specialists, seven “task force-2 members” and six state forest rangers.

…There are already New York employees on the ground in Florida.

Dorian claimed its first victim in the US — more than a day before it was expected to make landfall here, officials announced. An 85-year-old man fell from a ladder in North Carolina and was killed while preparing his house for the storm.

New York will likely dodge Dorian’s fury — and instead wind up with wind and light rain “like a lower-end nor’easter” on Friday, AccuWeather said.

An animal shelter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is evacuating pets in anticipation of Dorian. The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands expected to receive some 30 cats, and waived adoption fees today and tomorrow for all cats ages 3 and older.

A woman and two family dogs escaped a house fire on Baker Avenue in Niskayuna that fire officials may have been caused by a lightning strike.

In other news…

Gregory B. Craig, one of Washington’s most prominent Democratic lawyers, was acquitted of a felony charge that he lied about work he did seven years ago for the Ukrainian government.

The Trump administration announced new rules to roll back requirements for energy-saving light bulbs, a move that could contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Google will pay $170 million to settle allegations its YouTube video service collected personal data on children without their parents’ consent.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation intends to keep fighting against a planned gas pipeline that would terminate in Schoharie County, even though the agency’s 2016 denial was overturned last month by a key federal agency.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio may be poised to end his 2020 bid as early as Oct. 1.

A trove of sealed court records names hundreds of people who are connected to Jeffrey Epstein, and one unnamed man has already asked a judge not to release his name or the names of others accused in the documents of wrongdoing, arguing it could unfairly damage their reputations. The judge in question has not immediately ruled on this issue.

A pair of downstate lawmakers – state Sen. Roxanne Persaud and Assemblyman Harvey Epstein – introduced legislation that would ban 24-hour workdays and bolster working conditions for home health aides and other workers who provide care to the elderly, ill and disabled at home.

The wooden memorial built at the site of the horrific limo crash off Route 30A in Schoharie has been donated to the New York State Museum.

A new billboard advertisement on I-787 asks why Michael Rozen, chair of New York’s ethics watchdog agency JCOPE, hasn’t recused himself from a controversial ongoing inquiry into possible lobbying violations committed by Child Victims Act advocate Kat Sullivan. (More here).

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new slate of appointees including a senior communications advisor.

Victims and survivors of domestic violence who have filed civil lawsuits related to their injuries will have a longer time to make claims based on legislation signed into law today Cuomo.

State Sen. Jim Tedisco and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh held a news conference in Clifton Park with clerks from Saratoga, Rensselaer, Columbia, Warren, and Herkimer counties to continue criticism of a Cuomo administration plan to make you buy a new license plate.

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson zapped Con Edison, accusing the embattled utility of severely lacking “contrition” over the series of power outages that plagued New Yorkers this summer.

More than 100,000 people used Airbnb during visits to the Capital Region this summer, according to figures released by the company, generating a combined $20 million in income for hosts who have opened their homes to short-term rentals.

Troy’s City Council members met in secret today to discuss a secret report written by a law enforcement expert Mayor Patrick Madden’s administration hired to refute the findings of an internal investigation into the fatal police shooting of a DWI suspect.

Dr. Tim Maggs was formally introduced as the new owner of the Albany Patroons, which needed someone to step in and ensure their survival for another season.

Law enforcement officers were spit on and bitten in separate incidents over the past weekend.

The Latham location of the casual-dining chain Ruby Tuesday appears to be among a number the company closed in several states recently.

A woman was critically injured during a skydiving accident on Saturday in Gansevoort, State Police said.

According to a new study, those who drink more than two glasses of soda or any soft drink per day have a high risk of dying.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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